A statute of limitation is a law that places a time limit on your ability to pursue a legal action. Unless there’s an exception, once the time limit expires, you lose your ability to file a lawsuit.
There are different time limits for different causes of action. An attorney can help you determine which statutory period applies to your particular claims in order to protect your rights.
For medical malpractice actions, the statute of limitation varies. Typically, you have a two-year limit from the date of the action that caused your injury. Alternately, you can file suit within two years from the date the injury was, or should have been, detected. However, a malpractice action cannot be commenced more than four years after the act giving rise to the injury. These limitations apply to anyone aged eight or older
All personal injuries, including injuries suffered in an automobile accident, have a four-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident.
Accrual of Claim
The statute of limitation starts running at the time the claim accrues (is incurred). However, it is sometimes not possible to discover the cause of the injury or even to know that one suffered an injury until well after the injury was caused. This is especially true in medical malpractice cases, which is why the statute of limitation for medical malpractice cases provides an alternative period of two years from the date the injury was detected or reasonably should have been detected.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations
Sometimes a statute of limitation can be tolled, e.g. something stops the statute from running for a period. This is commonly the case where the victim is a minor at the time of the injury. In medical malpractice cases, an injured child under the age of eight must file a lawsuit by their eighth birthday or within the standard limitations period — whichever period is greater.